This past Saturday, the Jazz Outreach Initiative welcomed multiple GRAMMY® winning saxophonist, educator, and composer, and Jazz Master, Branford Marsalis to its Masterclass Series. The Branford Marsalis Masterclass was held at the Community Lutheran Church for more than 60 students and professionals. Part of the legendary Marsalis musical family, Branford has crossed many genres over a decades-long career including classical, film, jazz, rock, and pop garnering him 3 GRAMMY® awards, nominations for Tony® and Primetime EMMY® awards, and countless other accolades.
“The outstanding support for Jazz Outreach Initiative by the pastoral and leadership team at Community Lutheran Church afforded us a unique opportunity to present a legendary artist whose wisdom, experience, and advice can enhance and inspire musicians regardless of their instrument,” said Donny Thompson, Executive Dir. for “JOI.”
Throughout the Pandemic, Jazz Outreach Initiative has brought in the world’s most successful and respected musicians to its Masterclass Series. Students and adults learn insights about the music created by these legendary performers, best practices for growing as musicians, and can ask questions in a uniquely open environment. The Branford Marsalis Masterclass is JOI’s first live in-person clinic in more than 18 months. The Branford Marsalis Masterclass coincided with Marsalis’s concerts at Myron’s Jazz Cabaret at The Smith Center.
Other notable clinicians over the past 18 months have included Veronica Swift, Sherrie Maricle, Marcus Printup, Scotty Barnhart (Count Basie Orchestra Conductor), Dennis Mackrel, Sherman Irby, Victor Goines, Charlie Davis, Camille Thurman, and nearly a dozen others. Clinics such as these are provided free of charge to students JOI’s Las Vegas Youth Jazz Orchestra as part of their program benefits. Occasionally students receive one-to-one private lessons from these legendary musicians as was recently provided to LVYJO bassist Ben Bernstein who received a private lesson with the incomparable Christian McBride.
About Jazz Outreach Initiative
Jazz Outreach Initiative is a 501(c)(3) music educational nonprofit charity whose programs connect the language of music to the language of life for youth throughout our community. JOI operates on three primary pillars, jazz awareness and outreach programs, educational programs, and performances. JOI hosts the nation’s largest annual Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival. JOI also founded and leads the Las Vegas Youth Jazz Orchestra comprised of middle school and high school aged students from across the valley. JOI also presents educational programs at CCSD elementary, middle, and high schools with an emphasis on Title 1 “at risk” populations. And recently JOI launched “Jazz Routes,” which provides youth with donated instruments and a year of free private lessons. In November, JOI will officially launch a first public performance by the JOI Jazz Orchestra, a professional big band made up of JOI’s stable of outstanding volunteer mentors and some of the region’s first-call musicians.
About Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis has been thrilling audiences internationally across diverse musical genres for more than four decades. With 3 GRAMMY® awards, a Tony® nomination, a citation as Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2021 Primetime EMMY® nomination among countless other accolades, Marsalis continues to broaden his vast screen, performance, and recording credits reaching a diverse audience. Branford is a highly regarded educator with extended teaching relationships at Michigan State, San Francisco State, and North Carolina Central Universities as well as conducting workshops and masterclasses throughout the USA and the world.